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Metroid: Other M
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
Metroid Other M is an enigma of sorts. You have a legendary video game icon who has a new story introduced into the series and makes noble attempts to take the formula in the past and evolve it through creative bursts. While I have always embraced the creative benchmarks in this series (ie Metroid Prime) and can acknowledge there are some good elements of this game, in the end Metroid Other M loses any sense of identity as it borrows from other games without understanding its roots while at the same time not committing to being its own game. The end result is like eating at a buffet style restaurant...there are many good things in the mix but they don't compliment one another and won't leave you with a memory of an amazing meal but rather something that filled you up.

Starting off with the good, Metroid starts off with some top of the line graphics for the Wii. In the era of HDTV's and graphical prowess, Other M taps into all of the resources of the Wii and creates some gorgeous environments. The gameplay is creative and unique with first person/third person gameplay and tries to spice up things with more quick action timing sequences and physical gameplay. I thought it was a nice touch that Samus sometimes had a more physical approach to attacking her enemies and gave the game a harder edge. The story of the game I thought was pretty solid and fit well within the Metroid universe while the script of the story was lacking, the voice acting was, for the most part, very well done.

One of the biggest letdowns of this game is the emotional disconnect the player has with Samus. Metroid games to me create a universe of solitude and abandonment. Unlike a lot of games out there that put a lot of production into how alone you are, Metroid has always put you into a place of despair without much fanfare and made you feel that you truly had little to hope for. In Other M, the solitude has been replaced for a need of grand production and fanfare which really isn't fit for Samus style. Unlike other great games that use cinematics to tell the tale, the stories have always been told within the context of the environment leaving you, the player, to your own imagination. Samus always dealt with the cards she was dealt without making a big spectacle. With the recent introduction of cinematics and dialogue, Nintendo has taken a direction of telling you HOW the story unfolds rather than giving the player a chance to discern for themselves. This results in destroying the heart of what has made Metroid so memorable.

The other largest complaint about this game is bringing together ideas that don't seem to fit. Other M struggles with sticking with a gameplay element and mastering it which results in a hodgepodge of design choices that don't quite fit together. I found it odd that there were random moments throughout the game the camera would fixate over Samus shoulder similiar to Resident Evil and force you to walk through an era in an attempt to build suspense. The problem is that Metroid isn't Resident Evil. The constant chatter you have between Adam and you and forcing you down certain paths and giving you upgrades in the process was another gameplay element that has been overused time and time again, most notably introduced in Metal Gear.

The last complaint about this game is the linearity. I mentioned above about how Metroid games used to give you a sense of solitude. In Other M, you are always commanded and told what to do which takes away the free exploration and makes you feel as if the system is always telling you what you should do next. While it could be argued that there are other Metroid games that do similiar things, usually there is a vast chasm of rooms and multiple paths that lie between where Samus currently is vs. where she had to go. In this game, the environment is very restricted in making sure you only have a couple of options and in the end, you will always end up where you intended on going. When you introduce this stronger method of guidance, it takes away the feeling that the world is 1000x's bigger than you are and puts the game more in control than you as the player. It results in a disconnected experience as instead of exploring your environment in a vast world based on your own decisions and living with those consequences, you're just doing what the game is telling you to do.

At the end of the day, Other M is not a bad game but rather an experience sprinkled with creativity and disappointment. I left the game feeling moderately entertained for the time but, in the end, will find the experience forgettable. To ensure you get the most out of it, I highly recommend a gamer come in with 0 expectations. Those who do will be the ones who stand the best chance at appreciating the games rewards. If you come in as a true Metroid fan, be warned, you will go in expecting eating at a steakhouse and realize you are dining on fast food.
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295 of 384 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
*Introduction*
The Metroid series is one of Nintendo's finest, and the new entry, Metroid: Other M, is finally here. After the excellent first person Metroid Prime series by Retro was concluded, it was announced that Metroid was returning to both third person view and Japanese development. Many fans were made uneasy when it was announced that Team Ninja would be heavily involved in the project, but the fact that it was being headed by Yoshio Sakamoto, who has been heavily involved with Metroid from the beginning, gave hope that the game would live up to its classic name. Sakamoto promised that this game would flesh out Samus's character as the most story heavy Metroid yet, but has this decision ultimately backfired?

*Story*
The story is the most controversial aspect of this game. Rather than opt for the minimalist approach of the other titles in the series, Metroid: Other M inserts a full blown Final Fantasy XIII style cinematic experience. The story begins with a recap of the events that took place in Super Metroid's final moments and leads into Samus receiving a distress signal from a space station called "the bottle ship." She arrives to find out that the Galactic Federation has already sent a squad of soldiers, led by her old commanding officer Adam Malkovich. She ultimately joins up with them and politely agrees to follow Adam's orders.

The most jarring aspect of the story is the way it fleshes out the character of Samus. While Samus has had spoken lines before in Metroid: Fusion, but they were never overly intrusive and didn't reveal a whole lot about her. However, in Other M, she not only talks, she talks a lot. For a series that has largely lived on letting the player form their own ideas about the character of Samus, this is a bit disconcerting. The personality she reveals as she narrates the storyline is bound to infuriate many fans who have long seen Samus as a stoic and strong individual who is in control of her emotions.

Throughout the game, Samus has many flashbacks to her time in the Galactic Federation with Adam which portray her as an insecure little girl who has trouble handling the fact that she's a woman in a man's world. From giving a thumbs down as a salute, to her monologues about how father figure Adam is the only one who understands her, this becomes cheesy and embarrassing to watch. Back on the bottle ship Samus continues to act submissive to Adam as she instantly agrees to disable all of her abilities at his request with zero hesitation. Later on in the game, there's a scene where Samus is so frozen in fear that she is unable to do anything. Samus comes across as insecure, uncertain, and even submissive at times.

Watching the story play out, it is incredibly difficult to believe that this could be the same bounty hunter who has courageously saved the galaxy on numerous occasions. In an attempt to make Samus more human and relatable, Other M goes overboard. It's one thing to have emotions. It's another thing to be crippled by them to the point of endangering lives. For a game series that has never had a lot of story and never really needed one, I have to question why the game creators felt the need to insert this melodramatic poorly plotted mess. The story is a major part of the game, and since you can't skip cut scenes, it is impossible to ignore.

Once you complete the game, a cinema mode unlocks where you can re-watch all of the cut-scenes strung together like a movie. Whether you'd want to is another story.

*Gameplay*
The gameplay in M:oM is also a controversial element. Other M opts to use only the Wii pointer and nothing else for control. You hold it sideways like a NES controller leaving only the d-pad and two buttons for input. If you want to fire a missile, you have to rotate the Wii remote so it is pointing at the screen, which changes the perspective to first person. This shift is rather awkward, and you can't move while you are in this view aside from an awkward dodge maneuver accomplished by quickly shifting the pointer off the side of the screen. The controls aren't broken, but they are not particularly good, either. They work, but only just.

The game itself plays more like an action game than a Metroid game. Almost all of the exploration you would expect from the series is gone, and for the vast majority of the game you are restricted to a linear path where doors will often lock behind you to prevent revisiting previous areas. There are some hidden missile expansions and energy tanks along the way, but the game pretty much tells you their exact position once you clear a room of enemies. The game only opens up to allow free exploration at the very end. This exploration makes it very clear why they decided to restrict the main story line so much, because when you have a few options of where to go, every other area is "now loading" for ten seconds, especially when you use the speed booster.

The combat in this game is very easy. Due to the limitations of using a digital control pad in 3d space, Other M includes a dodge move that occurs automatically when you are pressing a direction on the d-pad. This means you will almost never get hit by anything as long as you are moving around. Samus's gun also auto-aims, so most of the time you can just shoot blindly down a corridor and not worry about whether or not you hit anything. The only challenge comes from shifting to first person to fire a missile, which is only required for boss fights the majority of the time. This is more annoying and awkward than difficult, since it merely involves waiting until you have a large enough window of time to get a missile off without getting hit.

Throughout the game, Adam restricts the use of Samus's abilities until he deems them necessary, which means no more finding your abilities along the way, and also leads to illogical moments such as Adam not deciding it was appropriate to authorize the Varia suit to protect Samus from heat damage until she is already most of the way through the lava sector taking heavy heat damage along the way. This approach also means that there are no substantial new powerups for Samus to acquire. All of the significant abilities Samus has in this game are repeats from Super Metroid.

Also worth noting are frustrating sequences that involve freezing you in the first person perspective until you find some tiny hard to find object. Often you will pass the Wii cursor directly over the object you are supposed to examine without the game registering it, leading to a lot of time wasted passing over everything over and over in an attempt to find what you are meant to scan. These moments completely kill the pacing of the game.

*Replay Value*
After you complete the game, every door unlocks, and you are finally completely free to finish your collecting spree of leftover expansions. At this point, there is also an extra boss and epilogue sequence to find. However, this can all be done in less than twelve hours the first time through, and once you do, the only reason to replay the game is the hard mode that unlocks upon 100% completion. There is also a cinema mode and art gallery that unlocks. If you don't care about getting everything, a regular main story play-through only lasts around eight hours.

*Graphics*
The graphics look pretty good for a Wii game, but the actual art design is lacking. The game is filled with generic looking hallways and rooms that don't really stand out visually, and the themes never go beyond the typical generic fire, ice, and jungle areas. The only thing that stands out about them is the holographic effect that appears sometimes to remind you that these are only simulations on a space station. One high point of the visuals is that the animations are some of the most fluid I've seen on the Wii.

*Sound*
One of the most disappointing aspects of Metroid: Other M is that the game has almost no music during actual game play. The background noise consists mostly ambient sounds and, very rarely, one or two recycled tunes from past Metroid games. Expansions are also missing the familiar tune that used to play when you picked them up in other Metroid games. This is a very disappointing aspect of the game. The voice acting is alright, but it's not spectacular. Samus sounds monotone throughout the game and you'll be hearing her a lot. The sound effects for weapons and enemies are adequate.

*Overall*
In more ways than one, this game is a massive disappointment. The game is playable, but in a series as outstanding as Metroid, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and even taken on its own terms it fails to impress.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2014
Quite what anyone was thinking when this was greenlighted is beyond me, as what resulted was a game which no Metroid fan could fail to hate, and which from a more objective view has little to nothing to offer which another game hasn't done better.

From a Metroid perspective, the game is a brutal slap in the face. In the game in which the decision was made to expand on Samus' backstory, little consistency in story or characters is to be had throughout, and players of any other Metroid titles will be quick to note the numerous flagrant inconsistencies with previous games. Moreover, story is often used as an element to limit exploration and player action rather than expanding it over the game; this includes arbitrarily locking doors that limit where the player can go with no real explanation, unlocking upgrades because an unlikeable character gives Samus permission to do so (when she already had it), and even worse. It's hard not to hate every character's guts and the story a short while into the game.

Gameplay wise the adventure becomes quite linear, losing replay value, killing the exploration that made previous games successful. Even non-Metroid fans will soon become bored with being spoon-fed every acquirable item. The upgrades themselves add little to the overall gameplay, and are altogether too incremental to maintain novelty. Though environments are decently rendered and composed, lack of camera angle control prevents detracts from this, and the simple fact is that the Prime games clearly look more fleshed out in most regards.

Combat could have been compelling, and brought new fast-paced action to the series. Unfortunately, combat ultimately boils down to repeatedly mashing the directional pad to automatically dodge attacks and unleash a counter, and the choice to eschew both a lock-on system and a useful manual aiming during normal run and gun mode means even more control is taken away from the player as the game takes over aiming in large part. An awkward first person mode for missile aiming and scanning forces the player to stand still and inevitably take hits, though at least the transition is relatively seamless. The end result is a repetitive combat experience which quickly becomes tedious, and is altogether too easy to finish.

Overall, what we are left with it a game which can barely stand on its own and account of terrible story and surprisingly boring gameplay, and which fails to carry forward any of the good aspects of the series it purports to be a part of.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
Super Metroid is one of my favorite games of all time. And since I have over 1500 games and spent 8 years as a professional game critic, that's saying something. Other M is supposedly a direct sequel. I couldn't ask for much more. Until I played through it.

Metroid: Other M disappointed me. I was excited to see a return to third-person, 2D gameplay, and intrigued by the potential of adding more story elements. The former worked okay, but lacked smoothness. Controlling Samus in 3D space with a controller as simple as the Wii's is not optimal. I found the auto-targeting wrong often and movement wonky. But once you get your weapons powered-up -- including some old favorites -- it really starts to shine. By then, though, the game is almost done.

The story wasn't what I hoped. As a bounty hunter, Samus shines when it's her alone against the world. In Other M, it's her and a platoon of marines and their bossy commanding officer against the world. It just doesn't work as well -- especially since Samus is forced to do whatever the boss says.

"Look, I'm being destroyed by fire monsters, but I can't use my ice beam because Adam didn't tell me it's okay. Oh, fiddlesticks!" Give me a break! One of the main story elements doesn't even reach an actual resolution -- as if the writer just forgot about it.

On the positive tip, the boss fights are pretty slick, holding their own against other recent action games. Also, this is a very pretty Wii game. The map is huge, with lots of ground to cover.

It'll take about 10 hours to beat if you're not rushing, and there's an epilogue which adds more longevity. There isn't as much tedious back-tracking like in Prime, thankfully. Getting 100% will be no easy task, though the game as a whole is easier than I thought it would be.

It's novel to point the Wii remote at your TV to scan objects and fire missiles, but it can be clunky. I really wish there were more things to scan and read about -- like in the Prime series. I want to learn more about Bottle Ship and the creatures I'm fighting!

If you temper your expectations, you'll find a lot to like in Metroid: Other M. I played the game to the end, so it couldn't have been too bad. Just don't expect something that lives up to the pedigree of this franchise. This will be on no one's game-of-the-year list.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2014
As someone who's been a long time fan of the Metroid series, it pains me to say that I can't recommend this game. The main character Samus, is utterly destroyed in this game. She's been one of the most iconic female characters in gaming and is one of the most powerful in Nintendo history, but in this game, she's been turned into this unthinking, emotionless, slave-like person, who can't even apply common sense to save her friends until she's actively told to do so. That's not even the worst part about this game, there are several glaring issues that go with it, from several plot-holes in the story (For example: One major part of the story is completely forgotten near the end of the game.), awkward controls (You have to use a D-Pad to control a Samus in a 3D plain and you can't use missiles unless you're in 1st person mode, which prevents you from moving.), repetitive mandatory fights that get old fast, a complete lack of challenge due to the ever useful "Sense Move" allowing you to dodge everything that comes your way, the game relies on nostalgia to sell itself, and the ever infamous game breaking glitch.

For those of you who don't know, the game breaking glitch occurs if you backtrack after getting the Ice Beam power up, which causes a certain door to lock SEVERAL HOURS later in the game. Worse yet, this door isn't optional, so you have to go through it in order to progress with the game. This forces you to use Gecko codes to hack the game, or you can use the other, less desirable method: Restart the game at the very beginning.

Approach this game with caution folks. It's probably better to just rent this game or look up a let's play on YouTube if you're curious about it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2014
The story is intrusive and poorly written. The level design doesn't encourage exploration in the same way as previous titles, and consistently funnels you to your next objective. The first-person segments meant to give this game a connection to Metroid Prime are awful and add nothing to the experience. The health system has a terrible regeneration system that upgrades on its own, separate from your overall health. This means anytime you get a health tank increase you don't care because you'll only ever have as much as you can regenerate. This is a game for neither fans nor newcomers because it doesn't share the design of the previous games, nor does it do anything to make itself more accessible. Nintendo sells super metroid on virtual console, and the Metroid Prime Trilogy for Wii are both better experiences.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2010
Metroid: Other M has aspirations to be a 2D platformer revival (a la Super Mario Bros. Wii) as well as a Metroid-flavored 3D action/platformer with cinematic flair in the vein of God of War (no doubt the influence of Team Ninja and their Ninja Gaiden Sigma series). I think either one of these gaming M.O.s could have produced a stellar game if Nintendo+Team Ninja focused their energies on just one of them - and therein lies the problem with Other M. It attempts to meld these concepts together - not necessarily a bad idea - but each side is woefully half-baked and the seam stitching these ideas together is very obvious to the player. Worse yet is the attempts to cram yet another gaming genre into the mix - the FPS elements of the Prime series - which further exacerbates the clunky transition between gaming styles.

I was looking forward to the God of War style combat, but Other M's is a stripped down and unfortunately boring rendition. I found myself using the following pattern for a majority of the game: holding down the charge button while constantly moving around, dodging an attack (done automatically for you if you're holding the D-Pad), turning towards an enemy and releasing the charge, do a "Lethal Move" (which is done automatically if you're holding the D-Pad toward a wounded enemy while holding the Fire button), rinse and repeat. This is what I like to call "God of War for Dummies" - there's very little challenge and no strategy involved. What challenge - or rather frustration - comes in the game when missiles are needed and the player has to turn the Wiimote toward the screen. As others have mentioned, Samus remains still as a statue during this, so the player must find the target and shoot quickly. This caused much frustration on my part - even if you do get the missile off, you have to switch back and in that transition there's a major bit of lag in the controls. All too often I found myself getting hit during that time, and I find this to violate a central tenet of good game design - difficulty should never come as a result of control gimmicks.

Other M also underscored a lot of the Wii's hardware limitations. The controller being the obvious one - the plain Wiimote is incapable for games like Other M. The D-pad is too small, it sits awkwardly in your hands holding it sideways and doesn't have anywhere near enough buttons. Controls aside, the Wii's lack of hardware firepower in contrast to the 360 and PS3 really shines through in Other M. The graphics are hardly cutting edge - they look more at home on the GameCube (Nintendo's prior system) than anything of the "current gen", and the use of pre-rendered cutscenes (instead of realtime ones) further highlights this. The game is also very short and the Bottle Ship is probably the laughably least complex Metroid world yet, which makes me question the capacity of Wii discs; rumor has it that the developers had to cut things out of the game to make it fit on a single disc. Finally, the Wii's memory appears to be quite limited, as all too often in Other M the action would come to a dead halt to load the next area. I'm wondering if some blame may go to the developers for not using more clever dynamic loading, like the kind done in Metroid Prime where the doors between rooms were used as loading buffers.

A lot of noise has been made about Samus's characterization in Other M, and I'd like to provide a bit of a different perspective on it even if to say "I hate it too." I have no problem with giving Samus some flaws to round out her character - to make her more real, more complete and more human. But like the other good ideas in Other M, this too was executed very sloppily and lazily. Samus's inner monologue doubles as narration, and all too often is used to tell us how Samus feels instead of showing us why she feels that way. She tells us that Adam is a "father figure" to her but we're never shown how he earns her trust or him acting fatherly. Worse yet, Samus suffers a PTSD-esque paralysis at the sight of a foe - one that she's seen and defeated with any similar incident several times prior in the series. The time for such a breakdown was the remake of the original Metroid (Zero Mission) but Nintendo missed the boat there, and unfortunately stuck it in here where it doesn't make much sense. There's a lot of potential characterizations of Samus that do make sense in canon: Samus was raised from an early age by the Chozo, and perhaps feels a bit estranged or alien around other humans; perhaps she's become overconfident and stubborn about working with a team after her many successful-against-the-odds solo missions; maybe she wonders what her life would've been like as a civilian and suffers some angst from her main talent being killing and destruction. Other M could've explored these possibilities, but instead expected its audience to accept a portrayal that is implausible in the context of the series by just telling us how Samus feels.

Other failings of Other M include its overall lack of creativity - the bland and sterile rooms and corridors, the retreading of enemies and environments from the Planet Zebes (Metroid and Super Metroid), the boring soundtrack (which only gets interesting by recycling leitmotifs from, again, Super Metroid) and the "game on rails" linear level design which lacks complexity and cleverness. Another flaw is the inconsistent and bad game direction - when Other M gets into a good groove of flowing action, it's usually abruptly stopped by areas where Samus can only walk and can't shoot, cinematics and what others have properly called "pixel hunts". These events rarely add anything of value and bring what would otherwise be a nice upbeat pace to slow crawl.

2 stars - don't bother buying this unless it's marked down significantly or used, better to rent if you feel compelled to play it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
CONCEPT:
Metroid: Other M is an action-adventure game that feels very toned down compared to the standard of quality many long time fans of the series have become accustomed to.
Taking place right after the events of Super Metroid, Other M is intended to give players an in-depth look at Samus Arans mysterious past from her subjective and strangely childish perspective.

GRAPHICS:
The best part of the game is easily the stunning visuals, I couldn't believe I was playing on the wii. The cutscenes look fantastic and the level designs looked great despite their redundancies. However many of the bosses and enemies did not appear very convincing.

SOUND DESIGN:
Annoying footsteps that were incredibly repetitous, I know this seems picky of me but seriously I'm not exaggerating. The music is virtually absent and non-existent, it's just eerie ambience. The voice acting has been getting a lot of flack from critics too... and rightfully so it is emotionless and tedious.

CONTROLS:
Switching to first-person to shoot missiles is clumsy and painfully avoided whenever possible, I never once purposely chose to fire missles. There are also moments in the game where the first person perspective is forced upon you and you must find a point on the screen to initiate a cutscene. This part is very unintuitive and unless you are aware you're actually supposed to be finding some specific thing you may spend 10 minutes of your life waving the wii remote like a magic wand that transforms a horrible game into a fun one (good luck).

ENTERTAINMENT:
Well as a huge fan of the metroid series I definitely couldn't miss this one, and if you're a fan I would say it is still worth a play through. BUT it is not in any way shape or form comparable to any metroid game from the past.
,
REPLAY VALUE:
Moderate
After the "first ending" You can search the space station with the power ups you do posses to find the ones you didn't before "beating the game"
But... no thank you, ooh ooh you can also watch all the cut scenes together like one looooooong movie... most of them were unbearable the first time through so yeah I'll pass on that too.

OVERALL
The potential is definitely there in this game, but Project M (team Ninja + x Nintendo) fumbled the ball in an attempt at appealling to a broader audience. When you consider the standard that Retro studios and the Prime series left the franchise with this game is just a completely inexcusable failure.
It's not challenging by any means, there is no free roaming or chance of getting lost, there are no substantial power ups to be discovered, all of the enemies are the same they just look different and worst of all you are not even alone on a desolate planet... to me I never even felt like I was playing a metroid game.
To be fair I really wanted to like this game, I really did... but I had a hard time even playing and finishing it. I appreciate Project M trying to reimagine the direction of the franchise but now personally I'm afraid this may damage their chances at receiving adequate funds for a future release, because I seriously doubt this game sold anywhere near as well as the Prime series had.

FINAL RATING : 4.5/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2014
Bad acting, bland environment, character assassination. Need I say more?

The gameplay is about as deep as Dynasty Warriors. So play that instead if you want action.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
For the last 10 years, Nintendo has been constantly changed what Metroid is supposed to be. Metroid Fusion attempted to follow in the footsteps of the original trilogy that creater Gunpei had made, although he had intended it to never be more than a trilogy, and Nintendo did at least wait until his untimely death to continue the series. Metroid Prime, however, at Miyamoto's request, was changed from the original idea of a Third Person Shooter (which would have been closer to the Metroid style) to a First Person Shooter. The term First Person Adventure was made up to fool people who weren't into shooters but were curious about Metroid or had been fans. Despite hesitation by the fans that a change might ruin the series, they were surprised at how well it was done. Meanwhile, Fusion was chided because it was too linear, although there's nothing inherently wrong with linearity and a great many games followed such gameplay and it led them to greatness.

Following that, Retro was left to their own devices to persue the Prime trilogy, and Classic 2-D Metroid was handed to Sakamoto, who decided he was going to rewrite the series as he saw fit. This much was proven with the complete retcon of the original game in Metroid: Zero Mission. Sakamoto has stayed true to his vision of taking the once beloved series and turning it on its ear. He changed Samus from a mysterious Bounty Hunter who always got the job done, into a ditsy blonde who makes seemingly ridiculous mistakes like taking her suit off before checking she was in the clear. Well, Metroid: Other M follows that new tradition nicely. One of the problems with Metroid Prime 3 was that Samus felt left out in all the scenes because she never spoke (although she has had written dialogue in previous games). Perhaps in an attempt to change this, Samus now never shuts up. At every opportunity she will release a deluge of backstory showing flashbacks, fears, and enough emotional issues to make Freud giddy with delight.

Along with her lengthy emotional baggage, Samus is teamed up with the oh-so-common politically correct group of Federation Soldiers, who've traded in their now familiar white armour for a strange blue one. Anthony Higgs, the token black (no offense) with a BFG and a penchant for wit that will remove all severity from most any scene he's in. Then you have the asian with his glasses, the good ol' boy with his beard and mustache, the paranoid hacker, and a traitor in their midst. On top of all that, you have the suddenly father-figure of Adam returning from Metroid Fusion where so many had presumed he was a former love interest. Sakamoto pulled a curve ball there, but the idea is still there and neatly tucked away into yet another of the many flash backs, though I shall not spoil it for those inclined to play it. Oh, and do be on the look out for Samus' new magical mole/beauty spot which comes and goes from scene to scene. And marvel at how predictable the plot gets, and cringe at how broken Samus has become, constantly seeking acceptance and no longer independant (or even raised by the Chozo, who've vanished from the game). And do, oh yes do enjoy watching Samus switch off all her upgrades and powers 5 minutes into the game until she is "authorized" to use them, even if that means going into situations she is technically capable of dealing with yet can not.

And by all means, I do suggest people give it a try, but nothing more than a rental, unless you just HAVE to have the game. There's little replay value, although once you beat it you can go back in and find a secret boss and an extended ending sequence. But be forewarned that it won't be available on Hard Mode, not that I mind cause I think the Hard Mode was rendered pointless (and I've never cared for them at any rate). But let me explain.

If you want to play this, do it for the gameplay itself and try very hard to ignore the backstory which contradicts so much that came before or the fact that Metroid suddenly feels very Japanese, though Samus was never meant to be. The gameplay is mostly solid. The third person action is smooth and responsive and very, very enjoyable. The gameplay graphics are vivid, crisp, and very well done on the Wii, though I can't say it's the best looking game I've ever seen on it. The enemies are so perfectly rendered, looking exactly like they did in Super Metroid or Metroid Fusion or whatever game many of the enemies originated in. Which isn't to say the new/original enemies look bad, cause they certainly don't! The Power Suit and Varia Suit look well made, the silly "butt" the Prime suit had is now gone.. pity the useless Zero Suit returns, and looking tackier than ever. Samus comes across as a big blue Barbie Doll, and about as well endowned...

Sorry, getting carried away again. The "auto-lock on" during normal gameplay is not as bad as some had feared and in fact mades the gameplay that much more frantic when you've got too many targets to lock on accurately. The items are fairly well hidden even though you will be told something is in the room on occasion (Super Metroid and Fusion both had that though, so no saying it's a new feature); you still have to figure out how to find them and some are decidedly cunning. The first person gameplay is a little.. out of place, but I suppose that can't be helped. Also, gone are the once myriad power-ups dropped by baddies to restore health and ammo, instead Samus has Concentration (which is kind of silly and absolute rubbish if you need the health in a boss fight). The music, what there is, is well done and very fitting with its ambient feel.

No, by all means, the gameplay is not that bad, and I mostly enjoyed that. It's just that the very heavy hand of Sakamoto in the direction he's taken the series is hard to ignore and it feels like it is weighing the game down. That's the big hurdle a fan has to get over to enjoy this title, and I have to say I think it's a bit too big for me to manage. And though he was attempting to Japanify the game, as it has never been all that popular in Japan, has failed miserably. I guess he didn't realize that if 7+ games over 20 years hasn't swayed the general populace, than no amount of eye candy (which Samus has decidedly become) is going to change the fact that they just don't care all that much. In fact, I do believe the game has had terrible sales in Japan, though I don't know all the figures.

I am glad I did not have to pay $50 USD for this, because it certainly wasn't worth it. But if you can find it cheap, it's not too bad, in the end. If nothing else, at least we have Anthony Higgs, and the hidden boss fight is probably the most satisfying piece of fan service the series has ever seen, and certainly the only kind I like seeing.. none of this "oh no, my suit came off" rubbish of later games.
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